Shilin: Fried Stinky Tofu
The fermented stinky tofu at Shilin Market is one of the most iconic Taiwanese small eats. It comes with pickled vegetables on the side.
Yep, these are land snails. Pluck them out with the skewers or if you're more skilled, suck them right out of the shell.
Shilin: Oyster Pancakes
Another iconic Taiwanese snack, oyster pancakes are made with sweet potato powder, egg, vegetables, and large oysters. It's topped with a sweet and sour sauce.
In short, it's sort of like a giant glutinous seafood omelette with a lot of sauce.
Shilin: Deep-Fried Soft Shell Crabs
These are common all throughout Taiwan. The crab is entirely edible, including the shell.
Shilin: Ox Tongue Pie
Don't worry. Ox tongue pancakes (niu she bing) are not actually made out of ox. It's just named that because it's shaped like a ox's tongue.
The pancake is sweet with peanut or sesame flavoring.
Shilin: Coffin Bread
Coffin bread is simple. It's a thick deep-fried toast, hollowed out, and filled with a savory chowder. We got the pork.
It originates from southern Taiwan and is reminiscent of chowder bread bowls (minus the sourdough).
Because of its proximity to the harbor, Keelung Night Market has a lot of seafood offerings that vendors will cook for you on the spot.
Giant crabs, oysters, and shrimp are common.
Keelung: Paopao Bing
The translation for paopao bing is bubble ice.
It's similar to snow shaved ice but beaten up into a fine, smooth, snow-like texture.
Keelung: Seafood Egg Buns
These are seafood egg buns. One with leek and shrimp (left), and another with oysters (right).
Keelung: Red Bean Cake
These red-bean cake pops come in various cartoon shapes.
They're similar to Japanese taiyaki, but with a different mold.
Raohe: Black Pepper Buns
The line outside of this particular vendor is insane. For those interested, it's located at the very back of the market.
Black pepper buns are a combination of scallions, sesame oil, and...
Raohe: Black Pepper Buns Inside
...of course pork and black pepper.
Be careful -- they're searing hot.
Raohe: Custard In Egg Shell
In New York, I've only seen these as amuse-bouches.
In Taiwan, they're cheap night market snacks and come in dozens.
Raohe: Pork Jerky
Whereas we usually buy them from the supermarkets here in the states, the pork jerky from Raohe is made on site.
Raohe: Fukushima Circle Pies
In Chinese they're called "fudao yuanyuan shao," or Fukushima circle pies.
Japanese small eats tend to be extremely popular in Taiwan, and this still was not an exception.
What it is: a fried pie with baked egg and ham inside coated with a lot of mayo and bonito flakes. Optional wasabi on the side.
The outer batter is similar to the stuff they use for takoyaki.
Raohe: Pudding Shaved Ice
Regular shaved ice drenched with red bean and condensed milk. It's topped with a massive pudding.
All the shaved ice is made in front of you.
Raohe: Squid Stew
The shop is called "Squid King" and they're always dealing with long lines.
The squid is put in a bag with sauces (spice level can be customized), shaken, and served.
Raohe: Leek Pan-Fried Dumpling
It's a pan-fried dumpling with vermicelli and leek inside.
Night market foods are not particularly healthy. Like this leek dumpling, they're usually fried and drenched with oil. But the good news is that they're ridiculously cheap and portable.
Raohe: Small Sausage In Large Sausage
No lies, that's the actual name of this dish.
The "big sausage" is actually a sticky rice sausage and the little one is your average Taiwanese meat sausage.
The snack is finished with pickled vegetables and a thick soy sauce.
Also known as Snake Alley, there are tons of shops in the Huaxi Night Market that serve snakes cooked plain or in broth, medicine, or wine.
They also have turtles too.
Huaxi: Shaved Ice
Bizarre stuff aside, Huaxi has some of the best shaved ice Taipei has to offer.
For those interested, this shop is located at 168 Guangzhou Jie in Taipei.
The ice is shaved to such a thin consistency it literally melts in your mouth. The toppings, unlike most places, are generous and fresh.
Huaxi: Aiyu Jelly Drink
Aiyu, a gel made from the seeds of a type of fig, is a popular Taiwanese drink -- especially in the summer...
Huaxi: Aiyu Jelly Drink In A Bag
This store was all about cost-saving measures. No cups here. They ladle the stuff straight into a plastic bag.
For the record, the aiyu was delicious.
Huaxi: Braised Pork Knuckle
There were also vendors selling braised pork knuckles and fatty pork slices.
Huaxi: Tomato Plums
This was a creative approach to the cherry tomato. The vendors cut small slices in the tomatoes and stuff them with dried, sour plums.
Tonghua: Taiwanese Teppanyaki
If you're craving steak, Tonghua is the place to go. Sure the cuts aren't amazing and the beef is a little stringy -- but what makes this place awesome is that it's a fast food joint.
Each cut of steak goes for around $3-$4.
Tonghua: Potato and Yam Fries
The market also has great purple yam and potato fries.
The guabao in Taiwan is massive. And they really don't skimp out on their ingredients.
The pork is sufficiently fatty and it's complemented with peanut powder, cilantro, and pickled vegetables.
Tonghua: Run Bing
It's sort of like a non-deep-fried version of a spring roll. This run bing was filled with peanut powder, shredded lettuce, and a sausage.